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How does YouTube do the still placeholder?

Without loading the video?

     
11:12 pm on Sep 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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I've been experimenting with all sorts of things before I start doing videos for my site.

I noticed that if I get the embed code for a YouTube video, there's a low-res placeholder, and the actual video doesn't start loading until the play button is pushed.

On any flash or mp4 videos I've done, the placeholder doesn't stop the video from loading in the background, which slows the loading of the page in the browser.

Is there a simple explanation as to how YouTube does this?

Thanks in advance for any replies.